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Very upset by 9 week old's behaviour (long)(7 Posts)
I am wondering if anyone can offer any advice on an aspect of my 9 week baby girl's behaviour which is really upsetting me.
My daughter is formula fed and has been pretty much from birth. I was mixing breast & bottle feeding for the first couple of weeks, but since then it has been exclusively bottle. I don't want to go into detail about why breastfeeding didn't work out for me - I will just say that I was unable to due to a variety of different factors and it was a very upsetting thing to come to terms with. I still experience guilt and shame about it.
Anyway, the problem is that I am not able to hold my baby and cuddle her unless she is sucking on something - i.e. having her bottle or with a her dummy in her mouth. If I pick her up to comfort her or to have a cuddle and don't give her the dummy, she will start crying in less than a minute and also grabbing at me, squirming, looking angry, etc. Once I give her the dummy, she is generally very happy to be cuddled and will sleep on me for ages in a breastfeeding-style position with the dummy in her mouth. In fact, holding her like this is this is the only way I can get her to nap during the day (which is a whole other problem).
However, the fact that I can't hold her without the dummy really upsets me and is a cause of a lot of embarrassment when I'm with other people - it looks like my baby hates me! I can't enjoy being affectionate towards her without this stupid ugly piece of plastic in her mouth. It makes me feel like she really doesn't like me at all, because just being close to me alone isn't enough - there has to be the dummy, otherwise it's tears (I realise this sounds kind of ridiculous but it's how I feel!).
Also, it really aggravates my feelings of shame and sadness about breastfeeding, as I realise she wants to 'comfort suck', but I can't provide this comfort from my body alone. It's like I experience the 'failure' of not being able to breastfeed all over again every time I hold her and the wound will never heal. All I can offer is a stupid dummy and that makes me feel so inadequate.
Is this behaviour normal? When will it pass? If you've had a similar experience, did you end up having a good relationship/bond with your child in the end? I am so worried we have a 'bad'/'broken' bond.
Sorry if this whole thing sounds silly (I realise it might) but I really have very little experience with babies and I'm tired and emotional!
I think it’s oerfectly normal for her to want to suck for comfort and it’s fine for her to suck on a dummy, she’s a very tiny baby.
What does concern me is your feelings about this. You refer to it as an ugly piece of plastic, say you’re embarrassed and that you feel guilt and Shane about not BFing.
I think it would be really helpful to talk to a BFC on one of the Helplines about your feelings regarding stopping Bfing. If you are having difficulties after the chat, I’d speak to your GP. You might find CBT will help you to get over your negative thoughts
I also couldn't breastfeed for a variety of issues and it still makes me a bit sad. But I'd never really thought about dummies this way. I just consider them a useful tool for making my boys shut up!
Plus they're a tool for helping them sleep whether that's on me, in their bouncies or cot. So it's not a substitution for me, but a sleep cue.
As your little girl gets bigger she will want to be awake and cuddling you/interacting with you without a dummy. She can't 'chat' with a dummy in her mouth and she'll start cooing soon. So that will probably help.
But you don't sound ridiculous just sad and tired and hormonal. Hugs.
I breast fed my ds1 and he still cried whenever I held him unless he had a dummy. He just liked to suck a lot! And he would arch away from me and actively look away from me, even when he had his dummy. I worried too and obsessively noticed all the other babies staring happily at their mothers with no dummies.... I worried about it all!
But weirdly he is now (at age 10) by far the most cuddly of my 3 Ds!
I know it’s hard, but really try not to worry or criticise yourself too much. You are surrounding her with love and care and attention which is far more important than whether or not you breast fed her. And some babies just like to suck - even when they are breast fed.
I couldn't breast feed either and to start with felt guilty but now I don't think I'd change anything as other people can help including my Husband which makes their bond stronger. Sorry going off topic a bit. Anyway my DS was like that for a bit and wouldn't even smile at me but now at 16 weeks he loves a cuddle (for a short time) and is full of smiles. He gets easily bored, as I'm sure all babies do and wants to be put down on his playmat or in his rocker. I know it might sound silly but have you tried walking round the house with her showing photos and explaining what everything is? My DS loves doing this and stares at everything 😀
Your baby's desire to suck something for comfort is NORMAL. It is comforting to her. Why would you feel embarrassed? ENJOY your baby - this time won't last long. Sing to her, talk to her, play with her. The fact that she likes to have a dummy will not affect any bond you've got. (Mum of 2 adult sons, granny to 2 little girls)
I know lots of breastfed babies who also have a dummy. You’re being really hard on yourself. Just give her the dummy if that’s what she needs. They are so popular because many babies (including breast fed ones) are like yours.
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